KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 — Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi appeared optimistic and happy when delivering his winding-up speech during the 2021 Umno General Assembly this evening.
In his address, he implied that the party’s vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob will be allowed to carry on as prime minister should the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition return to power after the next general election (GE15).
Ahmad Zahid said that Umno had the ability to grant people’s wishes with someone like Ismail Sabri in the country’s top job.
This came after Ismail Sabri listed his accomplishments since becoming prime minister and announced that the minimum wage would be implemented on May 1 in his own winding-up speech for the party’s annual congress.
Ahmad Zahid even touched on reports that his deputy, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, harboured prime ministerial aspirations, saying that rezeki (blessings) is never sent to the wrong person at the wrong time.
“I have never been jealous of him (Ismail Sabri) becoming prime minister because I am the one who nominated him for the job.
“Bossku (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) and I do not care because we know blessings do not come at the wrong place and at the wrong time.
“Who knows if Tok Mat’s time will come in GE16?” he said to beaming faces all around. Tok Mat is the moniker by which Mohamad is also known.
Ahmad Zahid then joked that perhaps such blessings did not come to him, Najib and several others because they were slapped with criminal charges during the Pakatan Harapan administration, which he blamed on then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“I was charged because the then prime minister was in power for 22 months. He asked me to dissolve Umno and I was charged because I did not want to.
“Bossku and other friends received the same fate as well,” he said.
On Thursday, former Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz reportedly reminded Umno leaders not to overstep their authority in pushing for GE15 to be held this year.
While he did not name names, it is understood that Nazri was referring to Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan’s opening speech on Wednesday for the party’s wings, in which he said it would be ideal for GE15 to take place this year, as Umno and BN should “strike at enemies when they are weak”.